Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Dead Time' Limits Quantum Cryptography Speeds

Date:
October 2, 2007
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summary:
According to a new article, technological and security issues will stall maximum transmission rates at levels comparable to that of a single broadband connection, such as a cable modem, unless researchers reduce 'dead times' in the detectors that receive quantum-encrypted messages.

Quantum cryptography is potentially the most secure method of sending encrypted information, but does it have a speed limit" According to a new paper* by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Joint Quantum Institute** (JQI), technological and security issues will stall maximum transmission rates at levels comparable to that of a single broadband connection, such as a cable modem, unless researchers reduce "dead times" in the detectors that receive quantum-encrypted messages.

Related Articles


In quantum cryptography, a sender, usually designated Alice, transmits single photons, or particles of light, encoding 0s and 1s to a recipient, "Bob." The photons Bob receives and correctly measures make up the secret "key" that is used to decode a subsequent message. Because of the quantum rules, an eavesdropper, "Eve," cannot listen in on the key transmission without being detected, but she could monitor a more traditional communication (such as a phone call) that must take place between Alice and Bob to complete their communication.

Modern telecommunications hardware easily allows Alice to transmit photons at rates much faster than any Internet connection. But at least 90 percent (and more commonly 99.9 percent) of the photons do not make it to Bob's detectors, so that he receives only a small fraction of the photons sent by Alice. Alice can send more photons to Bob by cranking up the speed of her transmitter, but then, they'll run into problems with the detector's "dead time," the period during which the detector needs to recover after it detects a photon. Commercially available single-photon detectors need about 50-100 nanoseconds to recover before they can detect another photon, much slower than the 1 nanosecond between photons in a 1-Ghz transmission.

Not only does dead time limit the transmission rate of a message, but it also raises security issues for systems that use different detectors for 0s and 1s. In that important "phone call," Bob must report the time of each detection event. If he reports two detections occurring within the dead time of his detectors, then Eve can deduce that they could not have come from the same detector and correspond to opposite bit values.

Sure, Bob can choose not to report the second, closely spaced photon, but this further decreases the key production rate. And for the most secure type of encryption, known as a one-time pad, the key has to have as many bits of information as the message itself.

The speed limit would go up, says NIST physicist Joshua Bienfang, if researchers reduce the dead time in single-photon detectors, something that several groups are trying to do. According to Bienfang, higher speeds also would be useful for wireless cryptography between a ground station and a satellite in low-Earth orbit. Since the two only would be close enough to communicate for a small part of the day, it would be beneficial to send as much information as possible during a short time window.

* D.J. Rogers, J.C. Bienfang, A. Nakassis, H. Xu and C.W. Clark, Detector dead-time effects and paralyzability in high-speed quantum key distribution, New Journal of Physics (September 2007);EJ/abstract/-kwd=nj-2f2/1367-2630/9/9/319.

**The JQI is a research partnership that includes NIST and the University of Maryland.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. "'Dead Time' Limits Quantum Cryptography Speeds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070928104257.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2007, October 2). 'Dead Time' Limits Quantum Cryptography Speeds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070928104257.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology. "'Dead Time' Limits Quantum Cryptography Speeds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070928104257.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Dancing, spinning and fighting robots are showing off their agility at "Robocomp" in Krakow. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A solar energy project in the Tunisian Sahara aims to generate enough clean energy by 2018 to power two million European homes. Matt Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) Lowe’s is testing out what it’s describing as a robotic shopping assistant in one of its Orchard Supply Hardware Stores in California. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins